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Jake, Nissan Technician
Category: Nissan
Satisfied Customers: 4378
Experience:  Experienced collision repair technician, Pulaski Tech graduate and DSM hobbyist.
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I have loved the car from new but now having problems with

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I have loved the car from new but now having problems with engine flooding and occasionally cutting out, we have had it checked over and changed the cam sensor plus th crank sensor still playing up sometimes will start and run perfectly for a couple of days then will not start at all, leave it alone for a few hours or over night and it starts fine! now we have been advised it's a timing issue which would mean the engine coming out, please help.
Is the service engine light on?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Is the service engine light the same as engine management light ? we sometimes have the ABS and the handbrake lights on but they go off on there own! this has been going on for a while and has baffled some good technicians, it started with a flooded engine which happened six or seven times now, three times we got the car going with the help of the AA and the rest of the time we find if we leave the car overnight it will start and run fine untill the next time, twice the car has just cut out whilst driving but the will start and run fine for a while, after the first time it cut out the mechanic changed the cam sensor which didnt work ! he then put the cam sensor in the crank sensor position and we also decided to replace the cam sensor also so both are new, whenever the car is plugged in to any diagnostic equipment it seems ok but you just know it's going to let you down and it does just that, I am now told by the most recent Auto Electrician and his mechanical network that its most likely a timing issue and the engine will have to come out whic of course will cost a lot of money and hopefully this will solve the problem, my concern is this, how do i know if its a mechanical or an ECU or circuit board issue, any ideas ????



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Other.
maybe two or three heads are better than one

Hi Steve, you relisted the question so I didn't notice the reply.


Ideally when the vehicle is stalling like this you want to pull a coil

and crnak the engine to see if your missing spark after it stalls. If you have NO spark, you want to scope the cam and crank sensor in sequence if you have a dual channel scope and make sure their signals are good. A good auto mechanic should be able to perform this no problem. This will let you know if your losing spark because the ECM is unsure of engine position.


Now if the timing was off a few teeth generally you can watch the intake timing jump around sporadically on the scanner which will let You know the timing has to be visually checked because its likely off.


I wouldn't say it s a timing issue just yet though.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi jake thanks for that, I assume yuo've gathered I'm as good on the IT front as I am on the Mechanical front, I can see what you are saying and it certainly make sense, whats so frustrating is when it is plugged in to something everything seems Ok or so I'm told by the various technicians who have had it, if it was consistent it would be easier to diagnose I suppose but because it's intermittent and will run fine for a day or two and then play up, it's driving us all mad, a thought just struck me if it was a timing issue wouldn't it be consistently out, you mention stalling which isn't exactly the problem, on about six occasions the engine appeared to be flooded, three times sorted out by tha AA the other three occasions it was almost as if you left it long enough the petrol would evaporate and the car would start and run fine for a while, until the next time ! and twice it's just cut out whilst driving which is a bit scary, the second time was after the cam and crank sensors had been replaced, going back to the apparent flooding it was always first thing in a morning after the car had stood over night.



cutting out while driving was what I mean when I say "stalling".

That symptom and the flooding are completely different issues.

The hard starts after long periods of sitting could be from a leaking injector flooding the cylinder, or a headgasket leak lieaking into the cylinders overnight.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for all your efforts as a said this is driving us mad, I will rate you and sign up for a month to make sure you get your credits, we did try the leaking injectors, left the car overnight checked the pots the next morning, bone dry, in my very limited knowledge i did wonder if there could be two problems ! when timing was mentioned i thought they would be getting out the strobe and looking for TDC before moving the dizzy, just to endorse the suspicion that I might be a bit of a dinosaur

Your most welcome.


There is no dizzy on your xtrail. It's coil over plug. All ignition timing is controlled by retarding and avancing the cam sprocket by the IVT solenoids.


Figuring out if timing is off shouldn't be too difficult for an experienced mechanic.

If the cylinders are bone dry it certainly doesn't sound like flooding issue, and flooding would cut it out while driving. I woul dbe more concerned with the cam and crank sensor wave patterns. Them changing the sensors doesn't convince me.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jake, me again, since reading your last reply and talking to both my mechanic and a Nissan mechanic about the IVT solenoid who sort of confimed our suspicions, could a sticking or faulty IVT solenoid throw up similar symptoms to which we are seeing, especially if we consider that a lot of the time the car runs fine and starts ok it's problems are very sporadic.


What do you think ?



Steve if the IVT solenoid function is not within spec when looking on the scan tool that is the easiest way to know.

Of if it's missing and you tap the solenoid with a wrench and it smooths out, then it's sticking.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jake thanks for all your time you have been great, I am going to bite the bullet and order a new IVT solenoid to see if that cures it, would you like me to let you know if it works, one for the memory banks if it does, once again thanks for all your efforts, I will let you off now you have certainly earnt your money, I am hoping that if I rate you I will still be able to get back to you.



Absolutely, let me know.

Even after rating me you can follow up later for free.
Jake and other Nissan Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jake


I rated you excellent and left you a tip so i hope that helps answers your question, still waitng for IVT solenoid to be delivered and hoping it cures

the problem, in your opinion do you think we might be on the right track would a faulty solenoid cause these problems ?



Steve I have seen these IVT solenoids cause random misfires and things like that. Which is why I mentioned the wrench trick that sometimes works when it's happening.

Generally don't see the IVT cause the vehicle to completely stall out, which is why I was wanting you to watch it on a scanner with intake timing readings.

Let me know how you turn out.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jake


You were right the IVT didn't help, everything good for a day or two the mechanics ran it around for a while, told me to pick it up,

but during the day they tried it just to make sure and guess what, it wouldn't start , flooded with the same three lights on, engine management, abs, and handbrake !

left it for two or three hours, turned the key and started straight up, cancelled the lights and drove it to my place of work and left it with me,


I started it several times yesterday and it was fine, went to it this morning and you may not be suprised to hear, no go exactly the same symptoms, it just about starts and the quickly dies and you know then you have got to leave it for a few hours before it will start again and then you may be able to drive round all day without a problem, you just dont know what will happen the next morning, it will depend on its mood !


car booked in at Nissan Stoke monday morning if it will start, I will keep you informed.


PS just took a look at the plugs all damp in fact very wet with fuel.




Thanks for the heads up, let me know what they say.

It very well could be out of time slightly. I have seen where the sprocket was over retarded and also would flood it out and take hours to start.

Let me know what you find out. Thanks.